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EGYPT



Published: Mon, July 18, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



EGYPT

The Egyptian Gazette, Cairo, July 13: An attack, apparently targeting a senior Lebanese official, fuels fears that there are hitherto-anonymous quarters bent on plunging the country into an abyss of instability. Lebanon's outgoing Deputy Prime Minister Elias Al Murr yesterday survived what is believed to be a bid on his life. Murr, who is also the country's acting defence minister, escaped death with injuries when a car bomb exploded as his convoy passed in a Christian neighbourhood in northern Beirut. At least two people were killed in the blast.

The assault revives grim memories which the Lebanese are painstakingly trying to overcome. It was the latest in a spate of attacks believed to be targeting stability and national unity of Lebanon itself. On Feb. 14, former Lebanese prime minister Rafik al-Hariri was killed in a similar bombing. On June 2, leading anti-Syrian journalist Samir Kassir was murdered when a bomb exploded under the driver's seat of his car. Nineteen days later, Lebanon reacted with shock to the assassination of George Hawi, a former Communist Party chief, who was a vociferous critic of Syria.

National security

Yesterday's attack came a few weeks after the Lebanese elections, which has re-drawn the country's political landscape and signaled its people's resolve to cement national unity. However, the bid on Murr's life shows that the way ahead is strewn with pitfalls. Overcoming them requires that the Lebanese of different leanings should cement their ranks and stand firm against attempts to revive sectarianism, which exacted a heavy price from them in the mid-1970s.

JAPAN

Asahi Shimbun, Tokyo, July 9: An asbestos scare of major proportions has recently unfolded across Japan. It emerged that many people who used to work at asbestos factories developed mesothelioma, a type of lung cancer. Family members and residents living near such plants have also been stricken.

There are many urgent tasks. Consultation offices must be set up quickly so that affected people can get help and receive medical examinations. It is also essential to collate information about factories that no longer exist and businesses that used large amounts of asbestos.

Class-action lawsuits

Asbestos was a major issue in the United States and Europe in the late 1970s. There were numerous asbestos-related class-action lawsuits in the United States in the 1980s. The United States and countries in Europe tightened regulations controlling the product. In Japan, however, it was generally accepted that asbestos was safe if it was used carefully. That's why so much asbestos was used in construction work, even until the late 1990s.

At issue now is whether the government allowed the use of asbestos despite its well-established risks overseas. Since a health hazard may be spreading among the public, that is tantamount to causing AIDS by allowing the use of tainted blood products.

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

Abu Dhabi Khaleej Times, July 11: Ten years ago this day, several hundreds of Bosnian men and boys were sent to their death in Srebrenica, a quiet town in Bosnia. They were killed in a so-called safe enclave under the United Nations. The killing went on for full five days. Over 600 men were found dead. Many more, over 8,000 people, went missing never to be found.

Yet the world watched in silent indifference even as the tragedy across the Balkans unfolded. The then U.S. president, George Bush Senior, dithered and failed to act which could have saved countless lives in Bosnia and elsewhere in the Balkans. It was not until Clinton took over that the U.S. decided to assert itself to end the terrible humanitarian tragedy. The U.S. action, it must be pointed out, saved the Bosnian Muslims from being completely wiped out.

Mladic missing

Today, 10 years after the worst genocide since the World War II, as the world remembers the victims of Srebrenica, we are nowhere near seeing justice being done to the perpetrators of the Balkan outrage. Bosnian Serb commander, Ratko Mladic, who sent these innocent men to death, remains at large. So is the more notorious Radovan Karadzic, the mastermind behind what has come to be euphemistically known as "ethnic cleansing."

We can do justice to the memory of Bosnian victims by bringing justice to their killers and preventing such tragedies from taking place again.




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